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British Dermatology has led development of the speciality for over 200 years. Before the work in London of Robert Willan, descriptive terms and many diagnoses used in dermatology were vague and imprecise. In the early 1800s, Willan and his junior colleague Thomas Bateman produced a classification of physical signs and disease that was the first to be generally accepted across Europe, America and Russia. As knowledge of pathology and microbiology progressed, this classification matured and changed, however these two Yorkshiremen (who were trained in Scotland) set British Dermatology on the world map.

In the early 1800s skin clinics were opened by Duffin in Edinburgh, Wallace in Dublin and Startin in London. William Tilbury Fox was appointed the UKs first full time Teaching Hospital Dermatologist at Charing Cross Hospital in 1867-8. By the 1890s consultant dermatologists were established in many of the major London Hospitals, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The British Journal of Dermatology (BJD) was first published in 1888 by Morris and Brooke. Morris subsequently became the first President of the Dermatology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1907.

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) was proposed in 1919 by Sir Archibald Gray, then Editor of the BJD. The first meeting was in May 1921, when Morris was chosen as the first President. Subsequent Presidents and Secretaries are listed here.

Until 1964 the membership numbers were restricted so the association was something of an exclusive club. Dowling and Ingram championed the removal of restrictive membership. From 1921 – 1964 membership grew from around 30 to 120. In the same period to 2008 membership in all categories grew to 1516.

This section of the website also includes a full History of British Dermatology written by Stephen Gold.

The BAD has an historical committee founded by Darrell Wilkinson which preserves artefacts and books relating to dermatology history. The committee organises an annual academic symposium at the BAD annual meeting at which the Darrell Wilkinson Prize is awarded to the best poster. Please visit the Historical Posters page to see the prize winning posters. The committee has also commissioned a regional history of dermatology. This work was started by John Savin and is being completed by colleagues. Please visit the Regional History Papers page to see more.

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